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Oil on Troubled Waters

Biz BriefsReports that gas prices could top $3 a gallon this summer are premature and irresponsible, says Jim Benton, executive director of the New Jersey Petroleum Council. While there has been an upswing of late, Benton says he only expects prices to increase another 10¢ to 20¢. He notes, however, that if the country is hit with another barrage of hurricanes, prices could go through the roof.

The United States Energy Information Administration projects regular retail gasoline will be about 10.5% more expensive this summer than last, in part due to crude oil prices, which are now at around $65 a barrel, compared with $56.50 a barrel this time last year. On Aug. 1, 2005, gas averaged about $2.47 a gallon in New Jersey, compared with the current average of $2.54. Benton says oil prices and international tensions are responsible for gas prices edging up and worried predictions concerning the summer.

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